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Best Commuter Bike Helmets

A bike helmet is, without a doubt, the most important piece of gear to have for every bike ride.

Best commuter bike helmets are not only safe but comfortable and good-looking as well. By wearing a helmet to any bike ride is kind of a statement to call out others doing the same!

Commuting in urban environments poses an increased risk of an incident due to the high number of vehicles. Besides, nobody plans to crash. This, when paired with the fact that commuters generally have to travel at peak traffic times, makes a good helmet even more important.

In the US, less than 50% of cyclists wear an adequate helmet leading to more negative crash outcomes than necessary.

When you choose a helmet, the key thing is to ensure that it fits and is comfortable. Premium helmets have some extra features, but the vital thing is it meets national safety standards.

People With Helmets Riding Bicycles At The Beach

Using a helmet that meets safety standards reduces your chance of brain injury by 58%  in the event of a crash. Image source: Pexels.com

How Did We Choose?

  • Most of these commuter helmets have a 5-star safety rating according to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab research center.
  • All helmets are CPSC-certified. Every helmet sold in the US must have this certification.
  • Helmets down below have the highest customer ratings in REI or at Trek shops.

logo of Virginia Tech Helmet ratings


 

Table of Contents

101

5-Star Commuter Helmets

Commuter’s Favorites

FAQ


 

Commuter Helmets 101

The three main types of bicycle helmets

  • Road bike helmetsLightweight, aerodynamic, and breathable to minimize the impact of speed and performance.
  • Mountain bike helmetsLarger and thicker than road bike helmets. More coverage of the side and back of the head. Long visor to protect from direct sunlight.
  • Commuter bike helmet – These helmets are designed for comfort instead of aerodynamics. Visibility, breathability, and more back of head coverage.

Different helmet types in a row - road, mountain and commuter helmet

MIPS vs WaveCel

  • MIPS – Helmets with this technology include a low-friction layer of material inside the helmet that allows multi-directional movement of 10-15mm with some angled impacts. This is meant to reduce the rotational force on the head when you crash.
  • WaveCel – This is a collapsible material that lines the inside of the helmet. It’s meant to be more effective at preventing head injuries from some accidents compared to a standard foam-based helmet. It does so using a “crumple zone”.  This is meant to absorb more of the force from angled impacts before it reaches your head

Importance of Helmet Fit

As mentioned above, helmet fit is the most important factor when you choose a helmet (once it meets safety standards). A loose-fitting helmet doesn’t provide the same degree of protection as one that fits comfortably tight. This is because it can slide around and move out of the optimal position for protection.

There are two ways to measure the size of your head. Either method works effectively, just ensure the helmet that you get fits snug and comfy when secured properly.

First, you could take a piece of string or clothes measuring tape, wrapping it around the widest part of your head roughly above your eyebrows, and take this number in inches or centimeters.

The other way is to go to your local bike shop to test a few sizes and brands, choosing the one that feels the best for you.

wrong and correct helmet fit


 

Best 5-Star Commuter Helmets According to Virginia Tech

 


 

1. Bontrager – Starvos WaveCel Cycling Helmet

Score: 4.7 / 5 out of 55+ ratings

Bontrager recreational helmet best for everyday commutes

MSRP: $100
REI Co-op

Trek’s Bontrager brand has been at the forefront of cycling helmet innovation, and with the Starvos WaveCel helmet, they include their most up-to-date technology in a sleek road/commuter product.

This helmet features WaveCel technology, providing added protection against certain angled impacts thus reducing concussion risk. Also, Bontrager guarantees the helmet so for the first year of ownership owners get a new helmet if they are involved in a crash.

The inside material on the Starvos is soft and moisture-wicking while being conveniently washable. Finally, it is available in three colors, white, black, and yellow with sizes ranging from XS to XL, along with easily adjustable height and circumference. This helmet is certainly one of the best available REI bike helmets.

  • Unisex fit
  • Crash Replacement Guarantee by Bontrager during the first year of
  • 5 stars by Virginia Tech
  • LockDown dividers
  • 17x vent holes

REI.com


 

2. Bontrager – Charge WaveCel Commuter Helmet

Best commuter specific helmet

adult wavecel bicycle helmet by botrager

MSRP: $150
Trek Bikes

The Charge is Bontrager’s commuter-specific WaveCel helmet, built especially for its safety features while maintaining supreme comfort and a stylish look.

This helmet standout safety features include the advanced WaveCel technology, increasing head protection from certain impacts, rear mount system for Bontrager light accessories, and easily adjustable BOA® fitting system allowing you to do so with just one hand.

The Charge’s inside pads are soft, moisture-wicking, and hand washable, making them very comfortable and convenient to use. The strap system features a magnetic buckle, making it easy to fasten the helmet securely.

Finally, an especially helpful built-in visor gives users some protection from the sun or rain, giving this helmet a complete 5/5 rating.

  • 5/5 rating according to Virginia Tech
  • WaveCel Technology
  • Fidlock magnetic buckle for a quick and easy fastening
  • Crash Replacement Guarantee by Bontrager – new helmet if involved in an accident within the first year of ownership
  • Built-in visor to cover sun and rain

Trekbikes.com


 

3. Specialized – Align II

The cheapest five-star commuter helmet

Purple colored Specialized MIPS helmet

MSRP: $50
Specialized

Specialized helmets are consistently stylish, comfortable, and high quality and the Align II delivers all of this and more for a bargain price.

This helmet comes in seven different colors, with a Hypervis style especially useful for commuters. Although it is budget-friendly, the Align comes with innovative MIPS technology, providing extra protection against some angled impacts. This helmet is the only one at its price to earning a coveted five stars from Virginia Tech.

Specialized did not sacrifice any comfort and functionality with such a high safety rating. The Align comes with an easy-adjust dial system, excellent ventilation, and a simple one-size-fits-all build, while still being notably lightweight.

  • 5-star rating at Virginia Tech
  • Patented MIPS technology
  • 4th Dimension Cooling System
  • Reflective decals
  • Easily adjustable one-size

Specialized.com


 

4. Bern – Union

Best helmet with extra head protection

Bern MIPS commuter bike helmet

Check Price at Amazon.com

The Union by Bern is a super functional urban cycling helmet designed to provide maximum comfort and protection to city cyclists.

This feature-rich helmet comes with a removable visor, 21 cooling vents, a BOA fastening system, and a high-quality moisture-wicking liner to keep you sweat-free on those hot summer commutes.

The shape of the helmet gives extra protection from collisions from behind, with coverage on the back and sides of the head. Finally, this helmet can support a PDW bike light to provide extra visibility, and users can also purchase winter helmet liners for colder commutes.

  • 5-star rating at Virginia Tech
  • ZipMold moisture control
  • Removable soft flip visor
  • Score: 4.5 / 5 out of 114+ ratings

 

5. Specialized – Chamonix 2

Excellent helmet for performance and safety

MIPS-equipped Specialized Chamonix II bike helmet

MSRP: $80
Specialized

The Chamonix II by Specialized is another helmet recognized for its top-class safety features and sleek, performance-inspired look.

Standout features of this helmet include the MIPS technology protection, compatibility with Specialized’s high-tech crash sensor, one-size fitting, and the 4th Dimension Cooling System for optimal ventilation.

This helmet is lightweight and comfortable despite its strength. It also allows easy chin strap, width, and height adjustment. Finally, the helmet webbing and decals are reflective to keep you visible, and Specialized includes a clip-on visor with it.

The Chamonix II is an excellent purchase for any commuter that wants a balance of performance and functionality.

  • 5-star rating at Virginia Tech
  • MIPS technology
  • Micro-adjustable with SX fir system
  • Patented clip-on visor
  • 4th dimension cooling system

Specialized.com


 

Commuter Favorites 🏆

Importance of a bike helmet for casual rides

Casual rides, especially in urban areas (78% of cycling deaths occur in urban areas), require the use of a helmet just as much as for exercise, commuting, or any other type of ride.

Just as it is a law and common practice to wear your seatbelt at all times in a motor vehicle, it is equally as important to make your helmet a non-negotiable item every time you cycle, no matter what type of ride it is.

As over half of crashes occur in intersections, it is clear that the speed you are riding at is not the only factor that leads to crashes. They can happen anywhere, any time, and are much more likely to end badly if you don’t wear a helmet. 61% of cyclists that were killed in 2018 did not have a helmet on.


 

6. Thousand Helmets – Chapter MIPS

A commuter bike helmet with unique urban cycling features

thousand bike helmet for commuters

MSRP: $135
REI

Cute bike helmets don’t come much better than the Thousand Chapter MIPS, designed with the goal of all-around performance for urban and recreational cyclists.

The Chapter has innovative features such as PopLock which is a hidden channel for locking your helmet up with your bike, and a 50-lumen rechargeable magnetic light that turns on automatically when attached to the helmet.

Additionally, the helmet uses MIPS advanced crash protection, includes a sleek integrated visor, and has ample ventilation for keeping you cool on your summer commutes.

Finally, the helmet is available in three sizes and can be adjusted easily using a one-handed magnetic fastener and a dial fitting system to adjust width and height. This Thousand bike helmet is an excellent choice for any commuter looking for premium protection and functionality.

  • Magnetic taillight
  • Visor with a premium finish
  • Integrated dial fit system for precise adjustment
  • One-handed magnetic fastener
  • 8 strategically placed vents

REI.com


 

7. Nutcase – Octoblossom Gloss

A stylish and versatile commuter helmet

MSRP: $80
Nutcase Helmets

The Octoblossom Gloss by Nutcase Helmets features a beautiful floral design while simultaneously delivering premium protection and versatility as a commuter helmet.

This helmet uses the industry-leading MIPS crash protection technology, a high-performance ABS shell, and extra reflective surfaces to keep you safe while on the road.

The Octoblossom Gloss is also designed to be extremely comfortable, featuring 11 cooling ventilation spots, soft internal pads and straps, and dial-adjustable fitting.

Additionally, this helmet can be closed with a one-handed magnetic buckle and comes with a detachable visor. An excellent value choice for any female commuters.

  • MIPS technology
  • Improved ventilation
  • Premium Fidlock magnetic closure
  • Dial adjustable fit system

Nutcasehelmets.com


 

8. Bontrager – Solstice Bike Helmet

Score: 4.8 / 5 out of 30+ ratings

black and white colored bike helmet with visor by one of the most popular helmet brand Bontrager

One of the best-rated bike helmets at REI

MSRP: $45
REI

Bontrager’s Solstice is the top budget-friendly choice on REI, rated highly for its safety, functionality, and overall value.

Even at its low price, the Solstice includes Bontrager’s convenient Headmaster fit system to easily adjust height and width to your head. It also has soft, moisture-wicking pads inside, and plenty of ventilation to keep riders cool and comfy even on long commutes.

Finally, this helmet comes with a convenient removable visor and Bontrager’s crash replacement guarantee for a year of coverage. Cheap bike helmets don’t come much better than the Soltice, an unbeatable choice for price and quality.

  • Customer rating at REI: 4.8/5 out of 30 reviews
  • Moisture-wicking and washable helmet pads
  • Built-in and removable visor
  • Crash Replacement Guarantee by Bontrager – get a new helmet if involved in an accident within the first year of ownership
  • 17 vents

REI.com


 

9. Nutcase – Onyx Solid Satin

Simple-looking yet quality commuter helmet choice

MSRP: $80
Nutcase Helmets

Nutcase’s Onyx Solid Satin is a simple yet innovative helmet choice that is optimized for commuters and urban cyclists.

This helmet incorporates MIPS technology for improved crash protection, as well as EPS foam, and a molded ABS shell for lightweight durability.

Using the Onyx is a pleasure, it includes 11 air vents for excellent ventilation combined with soft internal heat sealed pads for complete comfort and breathability.

In addition, this helmet is easy to adjust and secure with a hand dial and magnetic buckle closure system. Don’t look past the Onyx if you want a great all-around commuter helmet.

  • MIPS technology
  • 3 piece internal heat sealed pads
  • Injection-molded ABS shells
  • Visor included
  • 3 different sizes

Nutcasehelmets.com


 

10. Thousand – Heritage Bike Helmet

Stylish retro-looking commuter helmet

womens and mens bicycle helmet by thousand helmets

MSRP: $89
REI

The Heritage by Thousand Helmets is a throwback retro bike helmet that includes all of the modern safety features.

This urban bike helmet includes the PopLock channel to make locking your bike helmet with your bicycle easy and quick. The company backs this feature up with an anti-theft guarantee, showing their confidence in how well it works.

This minimalist helmet is also easy to secure, incorporating a one-handed magnetic buckle on vegan leather straps and a dial adjustment system. Once secured, the Heritage is comfortable and functional. It has seven vents with internal airflow channels and a built-in visor that make your commute a breeze.

Don’t look past the heritage if you want that vintage look alongside great features.

  • 1-handed magnetic fastener
  • Easy adjustments with Dial-fit system
  • Vegan leather straps
  • 7 vents

REI.com


 

11. Bern – Hudson MIPS Bike Helmet

Score: 4.4 / 5 out of 18+ ratings

Matte sand colored bike helmet with visor by Bern Helmets

One of the best MIPS helmet for commuters

MSRP: $120
REI

Bern helmets are consistently top of the commuter market for their premium safety features and stylish look and the Hudson MIPS is right up there with the best.

Designed for high visibility in urban environments this helmet gives commuters and urban riders advanced head protection with MIPS technology and an integrated, removable taillight.

Other notable features include an easy-adjust compass fit system with Reinforced U-locks, a removable visor, and 13 ventilation holes. Finally, the Hudson has an adjustable strap divider, and soft internal pads ensure snug comfort at all times.

  • MIPS technology to protect brain for rotational motion
  • Removable rear light for extra safety in the dark
  • Removable visor
  • 13 vent holes

REI.com


 

12. Lazer – Urbanize NTA MIPS Helmet

Fits perfectly with your electric commuter bike

Matte Dark Blue helmet for high-speed urban commuting

MSRP: $160
Backcountry

The Urbanize adult bicycle helmet by Lazer is the premium choice that is packed full of features for high-speed e-bikers and city commuters.

This helmet includes NTA MIPS technology, providing extra protection against rotational impacts injuries, earning it a coveted five stars from Virginia Tech. This helmet also has a panoramic lens that can be secured to the helmet magnetically when not in use. This helps keep debris and bugs out of your eyes on those fast rides through the city.

The Urbanize is extremely easy to fit, it uses an ATS system that provides progressive adjustments, eliminating pressure points when tightening. Once on, you can secure it quickly with a magnetic strap buckle.

Lazer also includes a USB-rechargeable taillight that provides visibility while riding on the road, further boosting its safety profile. When you’ve arrived at your destination, take off your light and use the light mount hole to lock your helmet conveniently alongside your bike.

  • MIPS technology
  • Multi-directional size adjustment system
  • Clear panoramic lens
  • For high-speed urban biking

Backcountry.com


 

13. Smith – Convoy MIPS Bike Helmet

4.5/5 out of 31 reviews at REI

light blue commuter bike helmet with visor

MSRP: $75
REI

The Convoy MIPS by Smith is a mountain biking helmet that doubles perfectly as a high-performance commuter helmet.

For improved safety, this helmet uses MIPS technology as well as the increased head coverage which is standard in MTB helmets. Aside from safety, the Convoy is lightweight and supremely comfortable in the heat.

The helmet has a whopping 20 cooling vents, to make it both aerodynamic and breathable. These vents are optimized to direct the warm air away from your sunglasses to avoid fogging up.

Finally, Smith uses an innovative VaporFit system to make this helmet super easy to adjust. The system can be moved two inches in any direction and has a soft internal lining to make it snug and comfortable for just about any rider.

  • Lightweight in-mold construction
  • VaporFit adjustable fit system
  • AirEvac Ventilation system
  • Designed to integrate eyewear
  • Comes in 3 sizes

REI.com


 

Conclusion

In the end, the most important thing for commuters or any cyclist is to be safe and enjoy each and every journey on your bike. Having confidence in your bike helmet goes a long way to ensuring that you can ride safely through busy city roads.

Ensure you wear your helmet every time you get on your bike and be familiar with how to stay safe while cycling in urban places. With that covered, you can get out there take advantage of all the wonderful benefits of cycling for you, your health, and the environment.

Toddler wearing a helmet and a backpack riding a bicycle on the road.

Everyone should wear a helmet! Image source: Pexels.com


 

FAQ

How much should I spend on a bike helmet?

There is no specific price range for what you should spend on a helmet. The only thing that is required is that the helmet meets the safety standards of the area where you live. In this article, the helmets range from $45 to $160, and each one meets and exceeds safety standards.

Do bike helmets expire?

Bike helmet manufacturers generally recommend that you replace the helmet every X number of years (such as 3 to 5). This is not an expiry date but an average of how long it will take for daily wear and tear to compromise the safety of the helmet or for safety standards to change.

Sweat, small bumps, sun exposure, and other factors can all contribute to slowly reducing the effectiveness of a helmet’s outer shell or inner foam. For this reason, if you use your helmet frequently it is wise to replace it in a time frame similar to what the manufacturer recommends.

How can I wear a helmet without messing up my hair?

This is a difficult thing to do and can’t be perfect. However, there are a couple of things you can do that help.

  1. Wear your hair in a ponytail or braid and sweep back your fringe, securing loose hair with bobby pins.
  2. Carry a comb and some hair products so you can fix it quickly when you arrive at your destination.
People Crossing Pedestrian Lane by foot and with bicycle

Most bike crashes happen in intersections and the majority of riders that get killed don’t wear a helmet. Image source: Pexels.com


 

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